Mastercard’s Ajay Banga is leaving his post as CEO to assume the company’s executive chairman position effective Jan. 1, 2021, as Chief Product Officer Michael Miebach prepares to take his reins, Mastercard announced on Tuesday (Feb. 25).
Banga will take over as chairman for Richard Haythornthwaite, who is stepping down after serving in that position since May 2006.
“As the company moves into this next phase of growth, we have a deep leadership bench — with Michael at the helm — to take us to the next level,” said Banga. “He has a proven track record of building products and running businesses globally.”
Banga added that aside from the U.S., Miebach has held leadership roles in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in payments, data, banking services and technology. Throughout his decade at Mastercard, Miebach has been a “key architect of our multi-rail strategy — including leading the acquisition of Vocalink and the pending transaction with Nets — to address a broader set of payment flows. He’s also a visionary who kickstarted much of the work behind our financial inclusion journey,” added Banga.
The leadership changes follow the company’s announcement on Monday (Feb. 24) that 2020 revenue could be affected by the Coronavirus, although the two announcements are not related. “If the impact is limited to the first quarter only, we expect that our 2020 annual year-over-year net revenue growth rate would be at the low end of the low-teens range,” Mastercard said in a blog post.
Miebach said that the last 10 years of his career have been focused on payment innovation, and that he “will continue to evolve and execute Mastercard’s strategy.”
“Ajay has led the strategic and cultural transformation that has enabled the company to thrive,” noted departing Chairman Haythornthwaite. “Michael shares the values Ajay fostered and has played a pivotal role in the company’s transformation. The board has full confidence in Michael’s leadership, experience and capabilities to build on the extraordinary platform developed under the leadership of Ajay and his predecessors.”
Merit Janow was unanimously appointed by the board to serve as the lead independent director, effective Jan. 1, 2021. The dean of the faculty of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), she joined the board in 2013 and will continue to serve as chair of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee when Haythornthwaite retires.
Banga added that Haythornthwaite has helped power Mastercard “through important milestones, including our IPO.” He said that Janow “brings a wealth of expertise to the table.”
In other news, earlier this month, Mastercard announced that it has been approved to join China’s $27 trillion payments market.